Posts Tagged challenge

Be the Dandelion: Finding Opportunity in Difficulty

Dandelion

Resiliency is a dandelion that gets mowed down or trampled into the lawn and then grows happily back, time and again reaching for the sun. We all have different levels of tolerance for being mowed down or trampled and different reasons for continuing to get up again. But what is it that makes us able to be resilient?

The start of another fiscal year for the federal government is approaching quickly. It is a reminder of how difficult it is to be an employee of the federal government. A reminder of just how hard it is to make do with limited resources, and continue to accomplish goals. Will the budget be passed in time? Will there be another shutdown? Will workers have to dig into savings again while waiting at home to hear they can go back to their jobs? And will the innovation and perseverance of those doing the work allow them to get the work done anyway?

The challenges faced by public servants are many. These challenges are not just in their jobs. Each person has a unique story. One peppered with personal struggles that may be hidden. Successful people are able to push past difficulty, even use the struggle for motivation to overcome it.

Being resilient is not always easy. Unlike dandelions, people must learn and practice to get it right:

  1. Like an endurance athlete, we must train.
  2. Like a warrior, we must have a reason to fight, something to protect.
  3. Like an artist, we must pursue a passion for something that brings happiness to ourselves and our audience.
  4. And like a family, we must surround ourselves with others who support and care for us.

Whatever your challenge and whatever your tolerance for handling it, a continuous fight can be draining. Practicing resiliency can make it easier. Whatever your reason to go on, your family, a drive to exceed goals, to help others, or your passion for creating, resiliency will allow you to move past those things that knock you down so you can get up and accomplish what even you might not have known was possible.

The way you approach difficulty can shape your life. In a dandelion  you can choose to see a weed that must be removed, or you can see what will become the symbol of a wish blown into the wind or some delicious greens for your salad. There is a great power in seeing difficulty and challenge as an opportunity.

How do you practice resilience and how do you encourage your team to try again when they experience setbacks in their work or their personal life?

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3 Steps to Discover and Retain the Intrapreneur at Your Organization

intrapreneur, change, innovationChange is a constant. Like it or not, it is inevitable that at some point throughout your career, you will experience a change that forces you to rethink everything; your goals, your strategy, your outlook, maybe even your job. Nobody is exempt from change. Despite whatever GS level you currently hold or where you reside on the corporate ladder, change will find a way to squeeze onto your to-do list. When most people think of change, they think of current events that unenthusiastically impact an agency from the outside in, much like the shutdown or sequestration. The change that I’m referring to is change that comes from the inside and, if leaders are paying attention, has the opportunity to transform the way an agency, even the government, does business.  The change agents that initiate these transformations are called intrapreneurs.

Intrapreneur is not a new marketing buzzword. Most people have heard of these idea generating, passionate, radical thinkers. Many companies, like Google and Apple, encourage their employees to spend time thinking outside the box to come up with the next innovative idea. The challenge, when you’ve been lucky enough to uncover a forward thinker within your organization, is preventing leadership from the unbearable internal resistance that can cause intrapreneurs to take their ideas and run. This is the last thing that government agencies need to happen while they try to obtain and retain the talent they already possess. If you are lucky enough to have an intrapreneur working at your agency, there are steps you can take to make sure they don’t jump ship at the first opportunity.

Allow Employees Time to Think – There may be an intrapreneur right under your nose and you may not even realize it. Heck, they may not even realize it! A good leader encourages and coaches individuals to instill forward thinking. Inspire your staff. Build confidence. Empower their originality. Lead change.

Nurture New Ideas – A new idea doesn’t have to derail the overall strategy of the agency. Often times, leaders dismiss what could have been a more efficient and innovative concept, that contributed to the accomplishment of the agency’s mission, simply because it’s outside the routine way the organization does business. As a leader, recognize that your ideas are not the only good ideas that come out of your department. Work with your staff, don’t dictate, about how their ideas could or couldn’t work for your agency.

Incorporate Innovative Ideas into Daily Tasks – Not all ideas will work for your agency but when a thought-out concept is brought to the table, don’t immediately dismiss it unless you’ve given it a test run. Try incorporating innovative ideas into the daily tasks that are already working for your agency. By changing the routine up just a bit, you might uncover a more efficient way of performing a task or accomplishing a goal. Taking small steps to test out a new idea can set a leader’s mind at ease by avoiding a significant set-back that could occur by taking the idea full throttle too soon. It can also make the intrapreneur feel valued, trusted, and supported knowing that their idea spurred a positive change within the agency.

People often resist change when they’re not a part of the change process. Create a culture where intrapreneurship thrives and ground-breaking ideas are encouraged and the idea generators will want to support the mission.

Are you an intrapreneur? How does your agency allow for intrapreneurship at your agency?

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